SA hunters to help cull hippos in Zambia
Publish date: 12 June 2018
Issue Number: 560
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
SA hunters will take part in the slaughter of 2 000 hippos in the pristine Luangwa Valley in Zambia next month. According to a report on the IoL site, this follows a shock move by the Zambian Government, which overturned a 2016 decision to suspend the supposed cull. The killing, marketed by an SA hunting outfitter, is being labelled barbaric by conservationists. The Born Free Foundation, which led efforts to stop the slaughter back in 2016, is calling for the authorities to urgently reconsider the cull. According to its president, Will Travers, ‘they are, apparently, using the same flawed rationale for the slaughter as last time – a preventative measure to avoid a future outbreak of anthrax, combined with an assertion that low rainfall will exacerbate the situation. They also appear not to have informed key stakeholders in the Luangwa Valley, including the Luangwa Safari Association and the District Commissioner’. Zambian Green Party president Peter Sinkamba reportedly told Lusaka Times: ‘What is more appalling is that the Luangwa Valley is not overpopulated as they claim. The hippo population in that conservation area has dwindled by about 14-20% in the past 20 years, motivated by mainly poor conservation policies, strategies and allocation of financial and human resources. The culling policy is motivated by pure greed.’
The Zambian Government, however, has denied reports that it has authorised the culling of 2 000 hippopotamuses in a national park with a high population of the mammals. A report on the allAfrica site notes that the Minister of Tourism and Arts, Charles Banda, while acknowledging that the culling would take place, said it was not 2 000 hippos that would be killed. He told reporters during a press briefing that the government has agreed with the SA firm that not more than 250 hippos would be culled in a year and that the figure may vary depending on the environment. The culling has been necessitated by the growing population of the hippos on the Luangwa River and the killing would be done to maintain a suitable habitat for other aquatic species, Banda said. He said the Ministry has taken interest in the programme to ensure that it was done in the interests of the country and that consultations with the Attorney-General have been done on the validity of the agreement with the SA firm.